The Mexican Interior Ministry recently held a press conference in which it was announced that there are plans to authorize the building of casinos in a number of the popular tourist resorts. Resorts that are likely to have casinos include Acapulco, the Mayan Riviera, and Baja California.
The main reason that Mexico has come to this decision is that the country hopes to keep casinos confined to these areas, and to keep casinos away from the regular urban areas. The reason for this is that the casinos will then rely on tourists for their income, rather than locals.
At this time, there are 297 gambling venues located in Mexico. It is not yet clear how many new casinos will be allowed to open, however, when looking at the number of gambling permits that were issued in the past, it looks as if this new undertaking could have more than 750 casinos. All these casinos would be operating in already popular tourist resorts that already have large numbers of affluent tourists.
There has been much interest in the potential casino resort project. In addition to the existing hotel chains such as the Resort Mundo Imperial Acapulco, and the Hard Rock Riviera Maya, there has also been interest from companies based in Las Vegas that are interested in setting up casinos at existing resorts in Cancun.
US Issued Travel Warnings
In December 2014, the United States State Department had issued a warning regarding casinos and other gambling establishments in Mexico. The updated travel advisory warned travelers that it is best to avoid any areas that will show that they are wealthy. The warning suggested that US citizens avoid going to “casinos, sports books, or other gambling establishments, and adult entertainment establishments.” The danger to the tourists can be avoided if they are able to enjoy casino gambling within the confines and safety of their vacation resorts.
Federal Betting and Raffles Law in Mexico
Mexico is in the process of approving a new Federal Betting and Raffles Law. The bill has already passed through the House of Representatives and is set to be heard in the Senate this month. The Director General of Gaming and Raffles, Maria Marcela Gonzalez Salas, has noted that it is still possible to add the casino resorts into the new bill before it is passed.
At this time, the licensing system for gambling establishments needs a complete overhaul. Those establishments that currently hold licenses will have to apply for new licensing. It is likely to create an uproar if a number of the existing operators are denied licenses under the new laws.
The president of the committee for the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers, Carlos Carrion, has estimated that about 15% of the current electronic gaming machines in Mexico are using unlicensed software. Second-hand gaming machines can be bought on the black market for about half the cost of new machines.
It is hoped that the new laws, once they are enforced, will bring the Mexican gambling world to a point that gaming will be safe and trustworthy for players.